Toyota has just announced that it plans on building its first plug-in hybrid by 2010. This car will be direct competition with GM’s high-profile Volt, which is set to released that year. However, many pundits believe that the Volt is “vaporware” and will not be released in 2010.
Toyota’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is basically a souped-up Prius running on 2 nickel-metal hydride batteries (the 2010 PHEV will run on lithium-ion batteries). It gets almost 100 miles a gallon in electric mode. It takes about 4 hours to charge, and it can run on the batteries for only about 7 miles. GM has claimed that the Volt will be able to go 40 miles with a single, 6-hour charge.
The 2010 plug-in will use lithium-ion batteries, the same sort of batteries that Toyota was saying were not stable enough to use in a car, and this, just months ago. But now Toyota states that it has instructed its Panasonic joint-venture battery factory to add a production line that will produce the new batteries.
Via: NYT (subscription required)